Nov 8, 2015

Remembering Curtis Otto and the first time I met him

Very sad to hear that Curtis Otto passed. I wrote this in 2012. The last time I saw Otto was at Sewell Gallery. He always remembered our last conversation and when he talked, he made you feel as if time had not passed.

He was so humble and that was one of the many things I liked about him. When we met last, he was being honored and asked me for a printed copy of what I had written about meeting him. I had forgotten mentioning that to him, but remember telling him how much his painting meant to me and meeting him that day.

For a man of such extraordinary talent and fame to care about about every single person that crossed his path, shows what an incredible loss this is to more than just the art community.

May he rest in peace.

Mar 18, 2012

Scene on Foot

One of my favorite things that helps me to relax is to walk.  I have met many interesting people, seen sights that can only be enjoyed on foot and discovered Eureka from a unique perspective.

I must have passed this house on E Street many times and always thought it looked very colorful and different but it was just another house, different from others, which is one of Eureka’s appeal. Houses, like people, have their own distinct character and style.

A painting in the yard of this house caught my eye. After my daily cup of coffee, I went back to the house for a closer look. It was a painting of Tsurai Beach with those letters boldly stenciled on the painting. Trinidad is my favorite place in Humboldt County and that day I was thinking of how wonderful it would be to go there. I was also thinking of the rich Native American history of Humboldt County and the local tribes.

The second time I went back there, the artist was out in the yard and introduced himself to me as “Otto”. He was very modest. Later when I found out later that he was THE Curtis Otto, the experience I had that day grew in its significance.

Art can speak volumes and touch people and open their minds. I have personal reasons why seeing that painting for me was special. For Otto, he wanted to make a statement. Otto told me he had been working on this painting for years but there was something that seemed “incomplete.” Adding the words Tsurai Beach, added that final touch for him. He said he never did like the name Trinidad, because it did not conjure up Humboldt County. “Trinidad is in Spain,” he said. “This beach and the name Tsurai  is what the Indians called the area and I wish they would change the name back because this is their land.”

I have to agree with Otto.

This happened when I first moved to Eureka. Since then Otto and I have had several conversations about many things but that day always brings a smile to my face. I learned more about Tsurai Beach and Eureka from him than I could have reading any books or doing research. But most of all Otto, thank you for reminding me that I too can make a difference—my gift is with words.